Canberra not exactly building a Blackwater army (is it?)

This is an interesting story in Melbourne’s Herald Sun but is the Australian government really hiring foreign mercenaries, men who operate beyond the law?

Australia is boosting its ranks with foreign soldiers by offering cash bonuses of up to $200,000 and fast-tracked citizenship.

Veterans have hit out at hiring “mercenaries” from countries such as America, Germany and Singapore instead of recruiting more Australians.

Defence, meanwhile, has scrapped payments of $680 to single Aussie soldiers to fly home for Christmas.

Figures obtained by the Herald Sun show 726 international military personnel have come to Australia since 2006.

It is believed to have cost about $100 million to help them move.

The Victorian RSL says the force should be hiring Australians and training them.

War graves advocate John Saddington questioned the loyalties of foreign recruits.

“It’s an absolute disgrace,” he said. “We are hiring mercenaries.”

Recruits are coming from America, Britain, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Italy, Singapore, Poland, Greece and Germany.

Hundreds of internationals have been lured by the promise of better pay and entitlements – 570 put their hands up to move to the Navy after the force visited Britain in December on a “fact finding” mission.

A Defence Department spokesman said: “The ADF contributes to the cost of relocating lateral recruits. The costs vary according to the family composition and size, but is typically between $150,000 to $200,000.

“Given the significant cost of training and building experience in new military recruits, this cost represents good value.”

In other incentives, recruits are also having their Australian citizenship fast-tracked after just three months of service.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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